Tag Archives: planning

Meal Plan

16 Oct

First off I want to give a disclaimer that I am a terrible cook, I burn everything, experiment without measuring and try to take as many shortcuts as possible in order to save time and energy.  I think in the end it costs me more than it helps me out.

Something that I have found when trying to save money (or at least have enough to make it through the month – see my last post on budgeting) is to always eat a home.  This is easier to do if you live close to where you work and go to school but if not it requires a bit more planning.

The Night – before you go to bed, prepare the coffee and set the timer if it has one, if not get it all ready so that you only have to turn it on in the morning.  Then pack your lunch, this could include a lunch meat sandwich or leftovers from dinner.  Every once in a while when frozen meals are on sale for under $1 I buy them and stick them in the freezer at work in case I forget a lunch one day.  Also, decide what you wan for breakfast, cut up the fruit or precook any meats (bacon, sausage, goetta etc.) and set all the ingredients together in the fridge.  This will save time tomorrow.

The Morning – If you are always rushing around like me, it helps to have all the ingredients put together and ready to go.  I usually have greek yogurt with homemade blackberry jelly (my parents have blackberry bushes) and coffee, but every once in a while I have a fruit smoothie in which I cut the fruit up and put it in a Magic Bullet cup the night before. If all else fails I always have my backup granola bars.

The Afternoon – Eat the lunch that you packed the night before.   This is the most affordable and quickest way to get lunch.  If you forget or have a lunch meeting, suggest places that have sandwiches or soups that you can get relatively cheap.  Another thing to do if you do not have enough food in you house for lunch is to pack what you do have an then buy part of a meal, such as bringing carrots and a pudding cup and buying a sandwich.

apples

Snack Time – This always hits me the second I walk in the door to my apartment.  I used to go for the ice cream and other junk food but recently I have been setting a bowl of apples (or other fruit) on my counter so that it is the first thing that I see as I walk into the door.  Normally I will eat an apple and satisfy that before dinner hunger craze.

The Evening – Of course supper!  This is the hardest meal for me because as I mentioned I am a horrible cook.  I usually try to make something that I can freeze and microwave later or make enough that I can eat it all throughout the whole week without having to think about cooking again for myself until a few days from then.  Something that I have learned to do however, is to keep a can of black beans, an onion, a bag of frozen corn and salsa on hand at all times.  Whenever dinner becomes a disaster (as it did last night)  I mix all those things together and have a meal that is both nutritious and flavorful.   Sometimes if I am on the sugar craze I just balsamic vinegar and honey.

The Night – This is where the whole process starts over again!

Advertisements

Budgeting

15 Oct

Something that I have learned while in college is that if you are going to pay for tuition, food, housing, gas, and other activities that you first need at least one job (at one point I was working 3 but one will suffice) and you need a budget.

My freshman year I had the best budget ever.  I had $300 dollars in cash and although I had a debit and credit card I was too afraid to use them.  Instead, I saved the $300 and only used it when was absolutely necessary.  Since I had a meal plan and my car had to be parked so far away from my dorm (parking is not so great in Lexington) I hardly left campus to go grocery shopping or out to eat.

However, as I moved through college I moved to an apartment where suddenly I had so many more expenses, such as monthly rent and money for the bus as well as groceries.

Finally I can up with this budget model that I think every college student could use substituting or adding the things that they need in order to make it or at least break even – notice that I did not say want, I said NEED, this is important.  There are many things I want but these are the things that I NEED and can afford.

BUDGET

Expenses
Tuition
Rent
Utilities
Food/Groceries
Car maintenance
Eating Out/Snacks
Toiletries
Fun
Extra

Income
Job #1
Job #2
Extra Money (side projects)

Budget Model

 

The other tool to help you stay on track is to plan out where every dollar is going to go before you even get the money.  Then once you use the allotted amount for a certain category mark it so that you know that you have no more money to spend on that category.

I am not perfect and so I also keep track of each month separately.  The red is the amount of money that I went over the category and not every category applies each month (such as medicine and car maintenance).Monthly Budget PlanComment if you have other creative ideas on how to budget.  This is how I do it now but I always want to learn new ideas!

 

%d bloggers like this: